Is there a Drug Problem in the “Frum World”?

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    As many of you may have seen, there is a story on YWN about a couple of teens

    that were arrested for apparently flashing illegal drugs and then assaulting someone

    in South Fallsburg. So I present a question to all of you YWN readers; is there a “drug problem” in the Frum community?

    IMO, there most definitely is, and I wish we would acknowledge its severity and extent. I personally have never used drugs, however, I know a few Frum people that have/do. The destructive nature of drugs cannot be understated. Drugs can take a person down soo quickly and severely, and the long term effects can be great (including, Rachmana Litzlan death). The passive, accepting and almost glorified way society as a whole views drugs has slowly but steadily seeped into the Frum community.

    So I guess I’m asking the following: 1. Am I alone in my opinion or are there others that see what I am seeing? 2. No matter your opinion, I’d like to know this: Do you know a Frum person that has ever used any illegal substance (including marijuana)?


    This isn’t just happening now, this has been going on for a number of years in the frum world. I had a couple good friends die from drugs, they started smoking pot and thought, “no big deal.” They then progressed in to other drugs, went sober, then out of nowhere were on it again. and that’s when the tragedies happened for both, on two separate occasions. Thankfully there are a few schools out there for teens on drugs, but some people are in complete denial, and ignore their child’s problem. They are afraid of what the other frum people in the community are going to think of them. People have to understand that their “pride” should never get in the way of their child’s life. If you have to send them away to a school, detox, programs, or whatever, DO IT, because every second you deny what’s happening, just pushes your child closer to drugs, and other harmful lifestyles. Sadly there are still people out there, who think that, “drugs can’t touch OUR community.” Sorry to break it these people, but it most likely is happening. Don’t turn your back on these kids.


    Of course there is a drug problem in the frum community. The frum community is not immune from any problem that faces the general population. Unfortunately, the leaders of our community refuse to acknowledge it, so it gets brushed under the carpet, while those suffering are left without aid, and are coined the “nebachs” and the ones who “left the derech”. Until we are willing to get off our high horse and agree that we are not anymore immune to these problems as anyone else, it will continue to worsen,


    Dude,wake up and smell the…MARIJUANA!!

    there IS a drug problem in the frum community

    and dont let anyone fool you by saying otherwise

    I am not speculating, I know this first hand.


    Any frum Jew who says there is NO drug problem in the frum community, either has blinders on or is in serious denial. Before we talk about illicit drugs, there is a huge problem with the abuse of such drugs as nicotine and alcohol. There are too many Yeshivah boys who smoke and drink. Now on to the illegal drugs – it would be genuine naivete to deny that the frum community has its share of pot smokers and pill poppers, as well as harder stuff. I tragically know of young people in my community who have died because of their drug abuse. And it isn’t just in the “modern” Yeshivahs. It is ACROSS THE BOARD. It is our dirty laundry, and unfortunately, it is getting aired more and more often nowadays.


    Two boys, in the yeshiva my father works in, were expelled for marijuana in the dorm.


    This may end up in a chilul hashem, i dont think this should be discussed in a public forum that people can and will take it in the wrong way. This may also be considered loshon haa against the some “frum” or “jewish” people. Im not a rov but just a thought.


    Why is this lashon hara?

    Shh someone may hear the frum are not perfect..

    All for what?

    Is saving a life worth more to people that lashon hara??

    Admit the problem so we can seek help for it as a community!!


    “This may end up in a chilul hashem, i dont think this should be discussed in a public forum that people can and will take it in the wrong way. This may also be considered loshon haa against the some “frum” or “jewish” people. Im not a rov but just a thought.”

    It is well-intentioned people like you who prevent kids who need help from getting the help they need. YOu call informing the public about this very real problem “loshon hara”

    (YOU COULD NOT BE MORE WRONG), when in fact it is a matter of pikuach nefesh. By making the frum public aware of this tragedy within our communities ALL over, we can educate the families to look for the signs of drug abuse, and help their kids. The chilul Ha-Shem is in throwing these kids away. You are actually worried peopel will take it the “wrong way?????” Is there a right way???? There is only one way – and that is the way that leads to hatzolas nefoshos. I pity anyone who refuses to acknowledge that this problem may even exist in his OWN family, chas v’sholom. NO one is immune.


    yes we have a major drug problem…

    even if its only one incident its a major one…


    Thank you all for your answers. So from this little snipet it seems pretty clear that there is a drug problem is the Frum community. THat being said, why aren’t our schools educating our children about the dangers and pitfalls. Just an example of something that helps a lot: Showing a video of what happens to people who become drug users and its many deleterious consequences. I believe that when kids start that don’t fully grasp the severity of it.

    And its important to extinguish the notion that it is “cool”. It is NOT cool, and this needs to be told to our impressionable teens (and young adults).

    We must realize that we are no longer living in a world where you can insulate your children, with internet, IMing, texting, video games, facebook etc… please don’t think your child “doesn’t know from such things”.

    I will say this I went to a “high caliber”, “first tier” yeshiva, and I know a few guys FROM MY SHIUR ALONE that fell into the endless pit that is drug abuse.


    Just because we know it doesn’t mean that the yeshivos will expose the bachurim to anything other than learning. It goes against the idea of the yeshiva being a fortress against outside influences.

    Why stop there? why not go on to smoking, the internet, drinking, Noshim etc.? The yeshivos (perhaps rightly) feel that the one (or more) child who is not exposed should not be exposed by the yeshiva.


    There is a major problem out there.

    The bigger problem, however,is that most people have their heads in the sand when it comes to these types of issues (drugs, alchohol, smoking, TV, internet, etc.). The “Yeshiva” world ignores kids/adults with these issues out of either ignorance or, more likely, out of fear that their reputation would, Chas V’shalom be tainted.

    We have become more worried about “how it would look” than being worried about addressing very real issues. Until more of us face reality and address these issues head on, it will onky get worse.


    I wish my yeshiva would have mentioned the ills of smoking. I didn’t really know much about the health dangers, and since everyone else around me was smoking or starting to smoke, I picked up the habit. And this wasn’t in the 1960s, it was in the 90s!

    The yeshivas are failing their talmidim by not educating them about smoking or any of the other pitfalls that the world has to offer. Don’t even get me started on STDs.


    OldBar makes some very salient points. Yeshivahs are falling short and dropping the ball when it comes to educating children of ALL ages. How can they tell a bochur not to smoke, when their Rebbie is probably lighting up in front of them? In my children’s Yeshivahs the administrators took the plunge and courses were given each year about the dangers of alcohol, tobacco, inappropriate behavior, STDs, illicit drugs, and eating disorders, which are sadly extremely prevalent in the frum community in recent years, partly due to the fact that more and more girls think if they are not a size 2, they won’t get married, and that is because of bochurim who ONLY want a size 2 trophy wife.

    We don’t address the drug issue more prominently out of fear that <“If anyone finds out, it will hurt our other children’s chances for a shidduch.” That may be so, but if something is not done, it will hurt that child’s chances to grow up and live his or her life. I know of kids in my community who have died because of drug abuse. They were not trying to kill themselves, but it still happened, nebbich. How do you think their parents feel, knowing that if they would have had a non-judgmental place to turn and better information, maybe their sons would still be alive?


    get started – in a different thread


    Oldbar: I agree with you on the smoking as well. I also was in Yeshiva in the LATE

    90s and smoking was glorified. They said it was Assur, however they never really explained the dangers that smoking has. Now granted I and others new that smoking is damaging to one’s health, however, it still helps to get education and to be shown what happens to you if one smokes.

    If you look at the Mesilas Yeshurim’s Hakdama, his whole premise of the sefer is to tell “what is already widely known”. He says that knowing something in the back our you mind does nothing. I would extent that concept to smoking, drugs etc… Our children, and young adults know in the back of their minds that its dangerous and wrong but that is not enough.

    Following in the concept and footsteps of the R’ Moshe Chaim Luzzato, we MUST EDUCATE ourselves even in things we think we are simply above and already know, because before you know it…you’re no longer above.


    I live in Baltimore and it is no secret of the atrocity which occurred in our community a week and a half ago. Having said that, I was hoping one of the small good thing to come out of this would be the community waking up and acting on this on a major scale. Maybe it will still happen, but talking to some highschool kids, I get the impression that nothing substantive is being done. The kids still feel rejected by their community, their school and some even by their families. Children who do not get enough love, attention and validation as important, look for other ways to fill the void. They turn to drugs, they turn to alcohol and many many other things. There needs to be an all out war against these things, and yes even at the expense of exposing some real good kids who come from very frum homes and don’t know much from these things. I keep hearing the same excuse, “we can’s expose the other kids who aren’t exposed”. I strongly disagree, there is a way to expose them to the dangers and the concepts without getting too specific. We must expose all the children to the dangers so they know that their rebbeim, teachers and community are aware that its a problem and when they are faced with these issues they feel comfortable talking to people about it. A few of the kids I have spoken to since the tragedy happened feel that the issue is not being tackled and that there is only finger pointing and not enough action is being done. We must help our children, they need to know that making mistakes is part of life, they wont be excommunicated for it. They need to feel loves, wanted and needed, by their community, their school and their families above all. Its a scary world out there for the kids but we need to make them feel that there is fight is not theirs alone and that we, the adults, the rebbeim, the community is there to guide them through the rough waters. I can only say that with the situation the way it is, may mashiach come soon and end all of the troubles in the Jewish Community at large.


    teachers and parents alike must talk to their kids lovingly about this….

    chances are there is a reason for this behavior….cause and affect….seek help! no one expects you to be perfect and even so,it can be done in a private manner.

    its scary-very scary. kids all over are using heavily,a friend of mine OD’d recently and was b’h brought back to us with g-ds loving help.

    please-dnt be ashamed,do something about this…



    and lets not worry about our kids wearing jeans when there are more crucial and severe things to worry about.


    Yes there is a big problem, but there are things that are being done to take care of it. The problem is not enough, because in flatbush people take care of their box of life and thats it, They know that their is a problem, because if other people are doing something about it.

    just me

    A few years ago I went to a MASK symposium on “Teens at Risk”. I a man who recently lost his son spoke. Many rabbaim spoke. Among many things said that night, they educated the parents what to look for.

    I think the yeshivas should talk to the kids about the danger of all substance abuse, but if they insist on having their heads in the sand, at least they should educate the parents.

    I don’t really think any thing will happen though. Most yeshivas are still too busy saying it doesn’t happen in THEIR yeshiva and worrying that it might be bitul Torah or the parents might take kids out if they don’t learn more that the yeshiva down the block.


    I wish that schools would educate our children on this topic. Most just see it

    glamorized in society (and by peers). It has become cool to go to a party to get

    “smashed” and to lose control. All too often I hear teens (and adults well into their twenties as well) talk about the party they went to and how crazy they were. Society seems to feel that losing control and having no inhibition is a good thing.

    Well how do you think our children accomplish that….


    I agree that there should be more done in the Yeshiva to make kids aware. However, as a parent, if you feel that your kids are not getting enough information about this, then do something about it.

    1- Contact the Yeshivah (better if you get a group of parents) and say that you would like them to address the issue and offer to help them set it up.

    2- Speak to your kids abour drugs. Get in the habit of having deep conversations and being able to talk about such heavy duty topics. Know who their friends are, what type of friends they are, where they hang out and know what type of things they do in their free time. (make your home a place where they feel welcome)

    3- Speak to your Rav at shul and see if you can organize something more local. Speal to people at Mask or ohel or wny similar group and they might have someone who would be willing to speak.

    All of us have responsibilities in this matter. However when we feel that the others are not doing their part, then it’s up to us to rise to the challenge.


    the question of is there a drug problem in the frum community is the equivalent of what color was george washingtons white horse, you would have to be blind or have your head in the clouds not to see this. I am 18 and went off the derech for a little, and I used pot twice (marijuana) but I entered a world I never knew exsisted, I knew frum people used drugs but never realized how many people use it and in what large quantitied its used and how easily they can be obtained. i was offered other things but never used them but there is a mjaor problem and something needs to be done before its to late, I have heard and seen to many bad things that resulted from taking drugs


    Child molestation and drugs are rampant in the frum community and these problems are swept under the carpet for fear of looking bad.

    i know a few substance abusers in our community and all of them were also abused and having nowere to turn because either because they think no one would beleive them (people will say “what that guy is an erliche yid he would never do somthing like that”) or they are just told to be quite and they watch the person walk around and be treated as a good jew they get severly dissilusioned with life and turned to drugs for comfort.


    I agree that we have to educate our children to prevent them from all this but personally I really don’t want my kids knowing about crack and pot if it’s not necessary. so how to we created a middle way where we can educate our kids but not have them too exposed?


    very simply … yes


    myshadow: don’t you remember finding out things your parents never told you? they’ll find out anyway. the question is, how?


    When you talk to your kids about eating properly for good health, brushing their teeth, so they don’t get cavities, getting enough sleep, not smoking cigarettes, why can you not also talk about illicit drugs. When the kids (who are old enough to understand) get antibiotics, this is a perfect pitchon peh for them, to initiate the concept of drugs that doctors prescribe for you to help you be healthy, and drugs that are never prescribed for people, because they only make people unhealthy and are illegal. You tailor the conversation to the age and comprehension level of the child. Just like the facts of life.


    As a mother of teenagers, I can tell you the answer is unfortunately yes. It’s not only those who have nothing to do with their lives. Too many teenagers, (yes, I personally know of several,) are experimenting with drugs. The consequences are frightful! Teenagers will find out about it, regardless of whether or not it is discussed at home.

    Parents, please, do yourselves and your precious children a favor. Discuss it with them BEFORE they reach that point.


    Oomis i like that thanx! I’m not holding by kids yet but I”yh I’ll try to remember it!

    Brooklyn, I definately do that’s why I’m would like to know a way to educate them without over exposing ya know what I mean?


    I actually brought the subject up with my mother when I was a teenager. She had no idea (back then it was not even thought of AT ALL) that there was a problem. She knew I would never try anything (and I did not), but I made here aware at how easy it was to get drugs if I wanted. One of my friend’s brother’s room always smelled like pot (so my friend told me – I was never in his room and I have no idea what pot smells like); his friend used to bring hash brownies to her house. You can ask almost any teenager to go on a mission to get some drugs and they will have very little trouble finding a person who can get some for them.

    This was ten years ago, and I am sure the problem is even more rampant now!

    Honestly, I have no idea all the different drug names and paraphonelia. I know crack is a white powder. I know marijuana is smoked. But I wouldnt recognize it! You dont have to detail what illicit drugs looks like, smell like etc to warn them of the dangers.


    Don’t let this thread fall away, as it is unfortunately a very relevant, malevolent, and prevalent topic.

    Bob M

    There is, in particular, a problem with presicription drug abuse among the frum girls in this community. I’m sure there is an issue among the boys as well.


    there is a group that helps deal with these issues in flatbush it is a project called safe where they actually go in to the schools and talk to the kids about gambling, drinking, drugs, peer pressure etc. in some schhols the kids even get assignments to come up with scenarios and solutions to what if you r friend…my parents dont get me….and they even meet with a safe mediator to talk. the help is out there please have the courage to ask for it. it’s a matter of life and death



    Do you have a number to this project? I am interested in finding out more about this. Thanks


    I dont think that people generaly get addicted to hard drugs just by accident from experimenting, I think that most times there is some underlying issue such as abuse (as this is the case by all the people I know who are addicted to drugs wich is only a few but still its ALL of them.) There are certain types of abuse that are rampant in our community that people just brush under the carpet for fear of making a chilul hashem, i think if these would be properly addressed it would help the drug problem a great deal.


    Bob M

    Did you happen to read the mishpacha this week?


    “This may end up in a chilul hashem, i dont think this should be discussed in a public forum that people can and will take it in the wrong way. This may also be considered loshon haa against the some “frum” or “jewish” people. Im not a rov but just a thought.”

    Funny, you don’t have a problem with loshon hora when condemning people for violations of your znius standards


    call sbh at 718-787-1100 they will direct you to safe wich also has an outpatient treatment and therapy facility in a remote area in bklyn. the building has no signs or indentifiable at all as to insure the privacy of client and family. safe also does pick ups after parties if pple suyspect that their driver is drunk and are stranded or if they themselves are acknowledging they are a bit tipsy. Good Luck!


    I think that while all this is true and must be dealt with, we should also remember that there is still that (hopefully) majority of bochurim and girls who don’t do this stuff, and opening up the drumhead can have some major negative repercussions on those bochurim who may be trying to stop on their own, or perhaps just started, and could be taken care of without exposing them. The problem should definitely be addressed, I’m just not sure names should be exposed.

    Oh, and for the record, I never drink except Shabbos, etc. and I’ve never smoked. Ever.


    esther – go the SBH online. or google “sephardic bikur holim”


    EDITED by YW Moderator-72 to remove personal question

    I happen to think that this is a ridiculous thread title. Of course there’s a drug problem in the frum world, and anyone who says otherwise is either EXTREMELY ignorant or else just trying to cover it up for the sake of “lashon hara” or some other such excuse. I personally know of tens of teenagers who abuse drugs as well as alcohol and cigarettes. Sadly, it is still perceived as “cool”. I think it’s terrible that in an age when we KNOW nicotine is highly addictive, and we KNOW its terrible consequences- e.g. the physical dregs of one cigarette take four weeks to completely leave the body- so many of our young adults still pick up that first cigarette. A few decades from now, many of them will probably be trying desperately to quit on doctor’s orders and will wish that they had never started in the first place, by which time it may actually be too late for them to save themselves. Illegal drugs like marijuana are a hundred times worse.


    i think being addicted to hard drugs does not happen by accident because of experimenting, it is usally a sign of some sort of abuse. we should try to take care of the problems of abuse that we have in our community and then hopefully the drug problem will lessned or go away


    Mchemtob-Thanks for the number.



    We tend to forget that Hashem owns not only our houses, cars, and clothing, but our bodies as well. It is an absolute aveirah to destroy or injure our bodies in any way since they are only on loan from Hashem and do not really belong to us. Therefore, it is assur not only to use illegal drugs, but also to smoke cigarettes and to abuse alcohol.

    See Shemot 19:5 as one of many examples that illustrate this idea.


    Is there an organization that assists in rehabilitation? or guides people where to go for help?


    I heard from someone who has seen it black and white in a Sefer that R Elyashiv paskened it’s OK for a Bocher to smoke once a day.

    Not recommending just for the knowledge…


    Prescription drug abuse occurs even in elementary schools.

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